„Sugar is a type of bodily fuel, yes, but your body runs about as well on it as a car would“. – V.L. Allineare
Do you have any idea how much sugar you consume, on average, daily or in a week? Many people don’t. Because most of the sugar they consume is hidden in processed foods and sweetened drinks. From sodas to yogurt, deli meats, pastries, sauces, breads and salad dressings, sugar can be found in most foods.
For example, one can of coke contains approximately 39 grams of sugar (that corresponds to 10 teaspoons of sugar or 10 regular sugar cubes). Cinnamon Roll can have up to 55 g of sugar (that is almost 14 teaspoons of it)!
Nearly one in three adults have sugary drinks daily.
Sugar is hidden in all kinds of foods you wouldn‘t think of because they don‘t taste sweet. Reading the ingredient label on processed foods can help identify added sugars. The higher it is on the list, the more sugar that product contains.
There are at least 60 names for added sugar on food labels.
Refined sugar is a silent killer that damages your health on long term. This common ingredient has strongly contributed to the American obesity epidemic.
Refined and added sugars have no nutritional value. There’s nothing wrong with the occasional treat, however, avoiding sugar or reducing its daily intake to a minimum would be one of the best decisions you could make.
If you care about your health, check the label twice before buying processed, packaged foods. Added sugar is hiding in 74% of packaged foods.
American Heart Association recommends limiting the intake of sugar – either in the form of refined sugar or natural caloric sweeteners. An adult male should not consume over 36 grams (or 9 teaspoons) of sugar. An adult female should maintain her total sugar intake under 20 grams (or 5-6 teaspoons) of sugar. Kids should not exceed 3 teaspoons (or 12 grams) of sugar per day.
Every day, the average American consumes almost three times more added sugar than is recommended.
Unlike refined sugars, most sources of natural sugar, are considered healthy, because they usually contain additional nutrients. Natural sugar refers to sugars that occur naturally in foods such as fruit (fructose), milk (lactose), and vegetables. Also, it may be sugars that are naturally produced (not refined), such as raw honey and maple syrup.
Natural sugars that can be added to foods (for example, sweetening your tea with honey or putting maple syrup on pancakes) can still count as added sugar and should be limited. However, naturally occurring sugars in fruits and vegetables (with no added sugars) are recommended and in most cases can be eaten in larger quantities.
Here are 10 serious reasons to avoid refined and added sugars:
1. Sugar Makes You Fat
Sugar contains nothing but empty calories. The worst part is that inhibits your cells from burning fat. All forms of sugar, including glucose, dextrose, fructose, sucrose, high fructose corn syrup and maltodextrin, lead to weight gain. Many so-called healthy foods, such as breakfast cereals and bars, have tons of added sugar. If you want to stay fit and healthy, be sure to avoid these on a daily basis.
2. It Doesn’t Contain Any Vitamins or Minerals
Refined sugar has no vitamins, no minerals, no fiber, no protein, and no other nutrients essential to our body and health. So, most high-sugar foods, such as candy, cakes, pies, cookies, jellies, pastries, ice cream, soft drinks and fruit drinks have little or no nutritional value. Consumption of such foods can cause nutrient deficiencies and affect your health.
In order to digest, detoxify, and eliminate refined sugar our bodies must take vitamins and minerals from healthy cells and draw sodium, potassium, and calcium from other parts of the body. Sugar drains the body of precious nutrients leaving it depleted and more susceptible to disease.
Too much sugar does not just make us fat; it can also make us sick.
3. Sugar Damages Your Overall Health
Every organ in your body is affected by sugar. This common food is harmful to your brain as well as to your endocrine, digestive, cardiovascular, and immune systems. It damages your health from head to toe, causing or contributing to serious health problems such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, diabetes, eczema, kidney stones, and even cancer. It also increases bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels (a risk factor for heart disease), makes your blood acidic, feeds candida, and weakens your eyesight. People who eat sugar regularly face a higher risk of heart disease, stomach ulcers, arthritis, osteoporosis, adrenal fatigue, and gallstones.
Findings suggest that sweetened beverage consumption is positively associated with the risk of stroke.
4. Sugar Is Bad for Your Teeth
It’s no secret that sugar causes tooth decay by feeding the harmful bacteria in your mouth. Bacteria feed on sugars and produce acids that damage the teeth. As acids attacks the teeth to dissolve the outer surface of tooth enamel tooth erosion occurs. Regular loss of enamel can lead to cavities and exposure of the inner layers of the tooth.
5. It Weakens Your Immune System
Most people eat sugar without knowing how this ingredient affects their health. Did you know that sugar suppresses your immune response within hours of ingestion? It makes you vulnerable to infections, viruses, flu and cold, cancer and other diseases. Research also indicate that sugar keeps immune cells from working properly and inhibits the absorption of vitamin C into the bloodstream.
6. It Hurts Your Liver
Sugar consumption is the primary cause of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. This ingredient causes deposition of fat in your liver. Some of the fat is eliminated, but a large part of it remains there. Over time, it can build up and cause liver disease, diabetes, and weight gain.
Too much added sugar from soda and sports drinks can overload critical organs over time, leading to serious diseases.
7. Sugar Increases Diabetes Risk
Many studies have found a strong link between sugar consumption and diabetes. The study by Dr Dora Romaguera at Imperial College London and researchers from the InterAct consortium suggests, that drinking one or more sugar-sweetened soft drink a day can increase your risk of getting type 2 diabetes by 22 percent.
Sugar may also cause insulin resistance that can lead to type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. The more sugar you eat, the more insulin your body produces. Over time, your cells may become resistant to insulin and the pancreas can stop working properly. As insulin resistance becomes worse, the diabetes may develop.
Consumption of sugary drinks may lead to an estimated 184,000 adult deaths each year worldwide, according to research.
In 2010, the researchers estimate that sugar-sweetened beverages consumption may have been responsible for approximately:
133,000 deaths from diabetes
45,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease (CVD)
6,450 deaths from cancer
8. Sugar May Lead to Cancer
Uncontrolled growth and multiplication of cells is the primary cause of cancer. Sugar feeds malignant cells, making them grow. It also causes inflammation and acidity in your body, which raises your risk of developing cancer. Eating lots of sugar is like pouring gas on fire, especially if you have a genetic predisposition to cancer.
Sugars and sugar-sweetened beverages intake may be a risk factor for type I endometrial cancer regardless of other lifestyle factors. (Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev (2013) American Association for Cancer Research).
9. Sugar Causes Premature Aging
Sugar is just as bad for your skin as it is for your waistline. Because of its inflammatory properties, sugar causes acne, wrinkles, bad skin, and premature aging. It causes skin cells to shrink and die. Sugar breaks down collagen in your skin, making you look older. This process is known as glycation. Consuming too much of the sweet stuff will add years to your face. Think about how much money you’d save on cosmetics and anti-aging products simply by giving up sugar!
10. Sugar Promotes Overeating
Studies show that sugar can be a substance of abuse and lead to a natural form of addiction. Any person can become sugar dependent. Too much sugar can create a vicious cycle of intense cravings. Fluctuation in blood sugar levels can cause you to experience symptoms like mood swings, fatigue, and desire to reach for something sweet again. This may lead to addictive eating behavior and obesity.
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Quanhe Yang, PhD; Zefeng Zhang, MD, PhD; Edward W. Gregg, PhD; et al. (2014) Added Sugar Intake and Cardiovascular Diseases Mortality Among US Adults. JAMA Internal Medicine 2014;174(4):516-524. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.13563. Abstract: http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/1819573
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